Talking to strangers
My parents owned a small luncheonette in New Jersey. This luncheonette was on the bottom floor of a 12-story building containing all sorts of businesses such as a computer school, and various professional offices.
As a 9-year-old, I would sit at the old fashioned stools next to the soda fountain and since people knew that my mother and father were the owners, they would ask me questions about school and what I wanted to do for a living. I really enjoyed it but when they sold the luncheonette, I no longer had the opportunity to talk to strangers like I did before.
Growing up, I was extremely shy and living in a city you really have to be careful on who you spoke to. When you spoke to someone you didn’t know they would say or give you that look as though they were saying “do I know you?”
When I first came to Las Cruces, people would smile and say “Good morning” and I thought it was strange that someone you didn’t know would tell you “good morning.”
We got used to the friendly greetings and when we moved to a new neighborhood, the neighbors came over with some goodies and introduce themselves. We would wait in line in the supermarket and people would look at my name tag and start a conversation about their insurance experience or have questions. I never thought that I can do business in a supermarket.
Before I was a Conquistadore I would go to various Chamber events thinking that I really didn’t know anyone. I was approached by a Conquistadore and they started introducing me to other people. I realized then that unlike the big-city people, in Las Cruces we’re very friendly and it became easier for me to approach people. I once read an article that described strangers as people you didn’t know.
Since being a Conquistadore when I meet someone new at events such as Business After Hours or any Chamber event, I approach them and ask if they wish to meet new people. Of course they say yes. As a committee member on the Member Advisory committee, I call Chamber members and ask them if they have attended any events, and a common response I receive is that they do not attend because they do not know anyone. I usually tell them, “How can you grow your business unless you speak to strangers,” and offer to introduce them to members at the next event.
I grew my business by talking to people and approaching strangers in settings such as Business after Hours. It is like being in my parents’ luncheonette where it is OK to talk to people who you do not know. Mary Iadicicco Chair of Conquistadores 2015 Greater Las Cruces Chamber